Here are my meeting notes as transcribed from my hand-scribble last night. As a reminder, these are not official meeting minutes, they are my own notes as a homeowner, which I share with everyone.
If you’d prefer a PDF file to download and read off-line, go here:
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Meeting Notes – December 15, 2016
The December regular meeting of the Rio Crossing BOA Board of Directors held at Barbara B. Robey Elementary (Media Room) located at 5340 N Wigwam Creek Blvd, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340.
Board members in attendance included Sarah, Matt, Alyse, Ida, Lori, and Julia. Homeowners from 4 lots were present. No representative was present from Trestle Management, the outgoing management company whose contract ends December 31, 2016.
I did not obtain an electronic copy of the agenda, and no hard-copies of the agenda were provided to the homeowners present, as has been done in the recent past.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the November 17 regular meeting of the board were approved, and the minutes from the November 22 special meeting of the board were approved. [The purpose of the special meeting was to conduct interviews for the new management company.]
[Note: copies of the draft minutes are not provided to homeowners. Copies of the approved minutes are typically posted to the Rio Crossing HOA web site within a week or two after they are approved.]
The financial report was approved. There was some discussion of moving funds above the normal operating amount into a reserve account. Approximately $73,000 was moved from the general account to the reserve account, with approximately $100,000 remaining in the general account.
The management report was approved.
[Note: copies of the financial report and the management report are not provided to homeowners.]
The landscape committee report was given by Matt. He said there were several dead plants at the monument sites, and that he had adjusted to the water rates in hopes that those plants would improve. He also mentioned that approximately 100 irrigation leaks had been fixed.
No social committee report was given, as Carissa was absent. It was noted that the social event originally scheduled for December had been postponed into 2017.
The design review committee report indicated that two architectural review requests had been received, one from lot 86 for the installation of solar panels, and one from lot to 89 for the removal of a tree and the addition of pavers and artificial turf. Discussion of the lot 86 request indicated that it seemed to be complete except for any indication of painting compliments and wiring in the approved color scheme for the house. The board voted to approve the request, with the addition of the requirement that all exterior components be in the approved color scheme.
Landscape Vendor Interviews
Discussion of the lot to 89 request was interrupted in order to proceed with the interviews of the landscape companies.
Each vendor was invited to introduce themselves and make a brief presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session, for 15-20 minutes per vendor. Representatives from the following vendors were interviewed:
- ELS Landscaping
- Stillwater Landscaping
- Somerset Landscaping
- Apache Scapes Landscaping (our current landscaping)
Consideration of the vendors’ interviews and proposals was deferred to later in the meeting,
Committee Update/Reports (Continued)
Design Review (Continued)
The agenda returned to the lot 289 architectural request. There was discussion about lack of details relating to the turf to be installed, as there are differences in color, texture, and durability. One board member asked if we should consider approving the request on the condition of receiving the requested turf information, in order to avoid having to reconvene the board to approve the request.
At this point there was some discussion regarding the Design Review Committee process. I pointed out that the Rio Crossing CCR’s do not require the Board of Directors to approve Design Review Requests, and that the Design Review Committee is empowered to consider and approve any request that meets the already-established design guidelines. Lori requested Sarah to read the CCRs after the meeting and determine if this was, in fact, true.
Ultimately, the request as written was not approved, and Sarah indicated she would contact the homeowner and request information about the turf installation. [Note: Last I heard there were only two members of the Design Review Committee: Sarah, as Committee Chair, and myself, Ray, as a member.] The Design Review Committee can meet once the turf information is received, and if the additional information complies with design guidelines, we can approve it; if it does not meet the guidelines, we could potentially refer the item back to the board for additional review and consideration.
[Note: A full discussion of the procedures relating to the Design Review Committee process is contained in Article 3 of the Rio Crossing CCRs, a copy of which is available here – as long as the current HOA web site is maintained.]
A previous discussion of signs at the two entrances was tabled with no further information. [Note: This item relates to the No Soliciting signs at each entrance, which became unreadable over time with exposure. The one at the north/Campbell entrance has been taken down; the one at the south/Heatherbrae entrance is still in place.]
The Community Surveys item was discussed next. The board was asked if anyone had distributed any surveys, and Julia indicated she had handed some out at the bus stop, and was waiting for them to be returned. Nobody else had apparently handed any out, and Alyse indicated she was hoping people would give her the list of properties where they planned to give them out, so as to coordinate and ensure there was no duplication of effort. Item was tabled to January.
The reporting and tracking of blinking and burned out street lights was next. No status was provided by Trestle, and Sarah indicated she would try to get the contacts at the City from Vicki. Ray indicated success with reporting 2 burned out street lights which were fixed within 2 weeks, by using the city’s My Avondale application on the IPhone/iPad (also Android; see this link).
The possible replacement of the monument lights was again tabled. Matt continues to research alternatives.
The trash receptacle proposals were discussed. Apache Scapes proposal for a quantity of 4 pads, each 3 feet square concrete with a pole and a mounted trash can, was discussed. Their proposal at $2740 was considerably less than previous vendor bids between $5-6K. The board approved awarding the bid to Apache Scapes. With Trestle as outgoing management company and AAM not yet started as incoming management, Sarah indicated she would execute the contract and keep copies to give to AAM for filing and tracking.
On the playground slide repair, it was reported that the new slide was to have been delivered December 1, but that to our knowledge it has not been received. Julia mentioned that this happened last time Tot Lots was hired to do some maintenance, that the slide is apparently no longer manufactured, and that they have to custom-remake this part. [Note: I don’t recall this being discussed when the contract was awarded.] With no estimated arrival time for the new part, and no details from Vicki at Trestle, we’re just waiting, apparently. Item tabled to next month.
The board discussed erosion control, relating to the rock material in each of the two large green belts. These rocks are referred to as “rip rap”, and is used at the opening of the drainage pipe to reduce the soil erosion that occurs as water enters the green belt. Apparently the board already received proposals from several vendors, ranging from $5-14K, quite a wide range. There was speculation that the high-end proposal might be to embed the rock in concrete, a process which generally gives the rip rap a longer lifespan with easier cleanup and maintenance. It was also mentioned that coloring the concrete was done at the city of Avondale, and it looked very nice. It was decided to ask all vendors to provide proposals with concrete embedding and color. The item was tabled to next month.
Consideration of Landscape Proposals
At this point there was a discussion of the landscape proposals and interviews. [Note: No details of the discussion and deliberations are provided here, but if you’re interested, contact me.] A secret ballot was called for, with 5 votes for Somerset and 1 vote for Stillwater. Board voted to ratify the ballot and award to Somerset.
Homeowners were invited to speak.
I mentioned the installation of the 25 MPH signs at both entrances, and that the Avondale Traffic Engineering department would likely be installing No Outlet signs at the entrance to each cul-de-sac next week.
A general discussion ensued with participation by all homeowners and board members regarding recent problems in Rio Crossing with crime. Matt mentioned the board had received a proposal in the range of $26K to provide elevated lighting in 2 parks and along several pathways, but that no decision had yet been made to proceed. Based on discussions from NextDoor.com participants who had asked about making Rio Crossing a gated community:
- Most everyone acknowledged that this would be an expensive proposition, given that to do so would require the HOA to fully own and maintain streets, signage, and related costs that are currently provided by Avondale.
- One board member pointed out that the cost to do this had been investigated before the current new board members were elected, and requested that the board members from previous years to provide some of that information at a subsequent meeting.
- One homeowner suggested a possible alternative would be cameras at the entrances, getting license plates of everyone entering and existing.
- Lori mentioned that some of the criminal entrance might be coming from the property to the south of Rio Crossing, or from the wall in the green belt at Roma and 124th St, where there were many issues of vandalism going back to the beginning days of Rio Crossing. This might negate the effectiveness of cameras at the entrances.
The board thanked the homeowners for attending, and went into executive session (no reason for executive sessions is provided; see ARS 33-1804 for details).
Several homeowners continued some of the discussion of security issues outside.